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Child Traumatic Stress: Resources from CBA

April 16, 2014

On April 9, 2014, a high school student in Murrysville,Pennsylvania stabbed 22 people on campus as the school day began. This story is still developing and our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy.

CBA recognizes that children and teenagers affected by traumatic stress need special consideration and assistance. We hope these resources will help during this difficult time.

Child Traumatic Stress

Children exposed to violent situations may experience traumatic stress. They may show signs after fearing for their lives, witnessing violence or losing a loved one.

Children may show physical or emotional symptoms of increased arousal, such as irritability,anger, trouble sleeping, decreased concentration, stomachaches, headaches or increased fears about safety for themselves or others. Other child traumatic stress indicators are:

  • Refusal to go to school
  • Bed-wetting or other regression in behavior
  • Getting into fights at school or fighting more with siblings
  • Avoidance of scary situations
  • Nervousness or jumpiness
  • Play that includes recreating the event

Treating Traumatic Stress in a Child

There are effective ways to treat child traumatic stress. Counseling with a mental health professional can help by giving the child an opportunity to talk about the traumatic experience in a safe, accepting environment.

Many treatments include cognitive behavioral principles, such as:
  • Education about the impact of trauma.
  • Helping children re-establish a sense of safety.
  • Techniques for dealing with overwhelming emotional reactions.
  • Involvement of primary caregivers in the healing process.

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